New Year’s Resolutions suck. Yeah, they’re a nice ‘feel good’ measure that people can take to avoid the rush of actually making a change, but they suck in general. Lose weight, stop smoking, become a better person… all goals which have no substantive basis in the real world. And yet, people are content to make these resolutions without worries and with an eye turned toward following a well trodden path.
The new year does offer great things as far as goals are concerned. It’s a lot more easy to remember than, say, April 12 or November 4 as a starting date. But, as far as establishing goals and making lasting changes within one’s life, it’s just another day.
I used to make resolutions all the time, but they had about as much substance as cotton candy. I’d scream to the heavens, “I’m going to lose weight!” or “I’m going to have a better money situation!” and come February I’d be in the same position, eating an entire tub of Ben n Jerry’s while buying useless stuff online.
You want to know the secret to real change in your life? You want the magic bullet? You want something that will absolutely, completely, totally, and irrevocably change your world? Try putting a plan behind the goal. Try putting a little bit more WHY into it, rather than a how or a what.
Let’s try a sample goal. This one’s one of my personal goals regarding this blog.
I want to make money from this blog.
This doesn’t say WHY I want to make money, it just says WHAT I want to do. It’s a perfectly reasonable ‘middle stance’ for my intentions, though the goal on its face doesn’t say a damned thing. I still have other questions that I need to ask. The first of which is WHY do I want to make money from this blog?
There are many reasons WHY I want to make money from this blog.
Money is a resource which helps the mundanes think about value. Most of the things that I want and need have a money value attached, and I don’t enjoy the way that I feel when I am not able to afford them. Do I necessarily WANT the money? No, I want the experiences and the things that come along WITH the money. The money is just a medium. I realize that it’s a necessity to have in order to keep a roof over my head.
Money making blogs tend to have a lot of readers. Having a large readership for this blog would be awesome, not because of the money making that can be done, but because of the connections and the interactions that I can have. I value friendship and respect quite a lot, because the friendships and the respect that I receive make me feel good inside – far better than just the money would. Remember, money is just a tool.
Having more money in my pocket will allow me to pursue other goals. I would love to do a ‘convention tour’ around the country, visiting as many science fiction/fantasy conventions and filk conventions that I can. I want to do these cons right, not in a half-assed moocher way of sleeping on couches and in cars. I’m talking rooms at each one, and a regular method of eating. I want to take my around the country friends out on the town and not privately wonder whether I can afford it.
I want to show that it’s possible that hard work and doing the right thing can yield results. I want to prove to myself that it can be done, even though I know from other people’s accounts that it’s quite within the reach of anyone who’s willing to pursue it. I have a history of backing down from challenges because I deem them to be too hard or not worth my time. And you know what? It’s time to buck up and prove it to myself.
After answering the WHY to the question of ‘I want to make money from this blog,’ I can then turn to the HOW can I make money from this blog.
This is the part which requires some research. Through observation, I’ve seen people make money from their own blogs through advertising, writing more stuff, offering seminars, selling products on their mailing lists, and more. Essentially, the people who make money from their blogs are offering some VALUE to their readers. Their blogs are a great source for coupon news or money saving tips or they offer a smile to start the day. The question then becomes ‘how can I add VALUE to my readers? That question can be answered several ways.
The HOW part of the question is what gets broken up into little tiny chunks. What can I DO RIGHT NOW to make this blog more valuable to my readers? HOW can I make my information more readable? WHAT content can I add that will make you come back for more? I generally ask those questions of myself in a different manner. ‘What would make this blog more awesome?’ and I look at it with an objective eye.
But, I digress.
Many resolutions are made without one of the three factors (WHY, HOW, and WHAT) in place, and some without all three of them. They are simple pie in the sky statements which land in the bucket of ‘would be nice’ and never get done. Despite the title of this post, this is not a condemnation of ALL resolutions, because there are some people who make a viable PLAN to get their goals accomplished and just so happen to do that at the beginning of the new year. Remember, the more details that you have at the beginning, the easier it is to follow through on the goal.
What’s in store for you in 2012? How are you going to make it happen? I’d love to know.